Investigators have announced that they believe German vegetable sprouts caused the E. coli outbreak that has killed 31 people and sickened nearly 3,100 others.

Reinhard Burger, president of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s national disease control center, said “the pattern of the outbreak had produced enough evidence to draw that conclusion even though no tests on sprouts from an organic farm in Lower Saxony had come back positive for the E. coli strain behind the outbreak.”

The announcement comes after experts linked separate clusters of patients who fell sick to 26 restaurants and cafeterias that had received produce from the organic farm.

Burger said all the tainted sprouts may have been consumed or thrown away by now, but the crisis is still not over.

Authorities continue to caution people not to eat sprouts, but have lifted the warning against eating cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce.

The farm near the northern German village of Bienenbuettel that has been blamed for the outbreak was shut down last Thursday and all of its produce recalled.

Germany has been the epicenter of the world’s deadliest known E. coli outbreak as the death toll is at 31 – 30 in Germany and one in Sweden.



Photo Credit: Yosri, via Wikimedia Commons